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Outdoor Social Distancing: Safety and Social Distancing FAQs and Recommendations

Q. Is it safe to exercise outdoors during the pandemic?

A.

You can exercise outdoors as long as you follow the directives of your local health authorities and take sufficient precautions. The ODPHP recommends staying active as long as social distancing is diligently practiced. However, you should avoid exercising if you’re feeling unwell and seek medical attention if you have fever, cough and/or difficulty in breathing. 

When going outside, consider places and activities that will allow you to maintain the six-feet distance from others. A nice brisk walk or a good running/bicycling session may be a good choice. When visiting parks, avoid touching surfaces and indulge in solo activities only as far as possible. It is advisable to stay away from crowded parks and campgrounds, as stated in CDC guidelines

The WHO also recommends physical activity during the pandemic.

Q. What precautions are advised when visiting any recreational facility?

A.

The CDC has issued detailed guidelines about visiting parks and recreational facilities. These guidelines not only recommend practicing social distancing in general but also detail other recommended best practices. You should avoid crowded places and visit parks and/or recreation facilities that are closer to your home, and check with them beforehand to find out if they are open, how they have prepared for the pandemic, and the facilities/services they are providing. 

It is also recommended to wear a mask along with social distancing outside, as far as possible. Frequently clean your hands with soap and water or hand sanitizer. You may also want to check for any additional guidelines or precautions that your local authorities may have put in place. 

Q. Who should refrain from going out during the pandemic?

A.
While it is best to avoid going out unless absolutely necessary, most people can safely do so as long as they take all the recommended precautions. However, people with existing morbidities are at a greater risk of getting infected and should refrain from venturing out as far as possible.
Additionally, you should avoid going out if you feel unwell, especially if you have a fever, cough, and/or breathing difficulties. You should also stay at home and possibly practice isolation if you have come in contact with a suspected or confirmed case of Covid-19.

Q. How safe is it to host or attend gatherings during the pandemic?

A.

Although hosting or attending gatherings during the pandemic may not be the best idea, it can still be done by being careful and exercising caution. If you are the host, request guests to stay at home if they are sick or if they have come in contact with a confirmed or suspected Covid case. Avoid hosting a gathering indoors, and create arrangements that promote social distancing. Wear masks and ask your guests to do so as well. Ensure there is adequate supply of soap, sanitizers, masks, paper towels, wet and wipes, and do not have too many people handling food and beverages. Be sure to discourage hugs and handshakes. For a sit down program, ensure staggered seating arrangements to allow physical distancing.

If you are planning to attend a gathering, do so only if you’re feeling fit and only after checking with the host about their safety measures in place. You should also carry sufficient supplies with you, such as spare masks, sanitizers, disinfectant wipes, paper towels, and drinking water. When there, maintaining the six-feet distance as much as possible, choose outdoors over indoors, refrain from touching common surfaces, stay away from shared items and self-serve food and/or unsealed drinks, opt for touchless facilities, and wash/sanitize your hands frequently. 

Please refer to the CDC guidelines for more details. 

Q. Are there any outdoor activities that should be avoided during Covid-19?

A.

Any activities that require you to be in close contact with others or be in crowded places should be avoided. You should refrain from participating in group activities such as fitness classes, playing team sports, or attending festivals and concerts. Stay away from activities that require the use of shared equipment like gym equipment, weights, etc.

Q. Is it safe to visit cafes and restaurants?

A.

efore deciding to visit a cafe or restaurant, it’ll be a good idea to consider if you can avoid it and/or if ordering food or opting for take-out would be a better option instead. If you still decide to dine out, call in to check what safety precautions the restaurant has implemented. It might help to go through the restaurant’s social media. 

 

When there, comply with the restaurant rules and practice social distancing as much as possible. Wash your hands upon entering and when exiting the restaurant. Opt for outdoor seating over indoors, and stay away from buffet or self-serve options. As far as possible, order individual meals and avoid sharing food. 

 

Please visit the CDC website for more useful information on staying safe during the pandemic

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